Perspectives

New Zealand Finalises Strategy on Antimicrobial Resistance

Freshly picked vegetablesNew Zealand wants to curtail the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) on food production by launching a finalised action plan.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Food Safety Minister David Bennett released the strategic initiative to manage and control antimicrobials based on five key objectives. Bennett said that the plan would allow the country to remain globally competent when it comes to food production. Fort Richard Laboratories Ltd added that it could also include food microbiology testing.

Five Objectives

Under the action plan, the country will seek to raise awareness and understanding on AMR through proper communication, education, and training. It will conduct surveillance and research to find out more about the concern.

At the same time, the plan seeks to prevent the spread of further infection and adopt preventive measures for human and animal health. The efficient use of antimicrobial medicines, along with regulatory enhancements, will complement drug use in protecting the public, livestock, and agriculture against AMR’s risks.

The plan will also aim to create a streamlined investment approach and government oversight to sustain progress in fighting AMR.

International Partnership

New Zealand also sought to improve its international ties on food safety efforts by partnering with the Indonesian National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM). Bennett said that enhancing its partnership with BPOM would allow both countries to accomplish their objectives on food safety, which is important for agricultural trade.

In 2014, BPOM and Ministry for Primary Industries entered into Food Safety Agreement to promote a safer production of food items, especially the management of risks in trading processed products. As the two countries will reach their 60th anniversary in 2018 of working together, the renewed partnership helps in maintaining diplomatic ties as well, according to Bennett.

New Zealand’s efforts to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance on food products signals the country’s priority of ensuring safe consumables. The private sector should then do its part for the plan to become successful.